After many years of LEAKS going on in Washington, it is great to see the A.G. taking action! For National Security, the tougher the better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2017
I’ve been kinda-sorta interested in Jefferson Beauregard ‘Stonewall’ Sessions III sudden new initiative to hunt-down leakers (or appease his boss, depending on how one views these things).
Sessions made it seem as if he was going after the press when said he will be “reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas,” which indicates that he may pressure journalists into revealing their sources.
And then the Justice Department quickly tried to clarify that:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Sunday said the Justice Department’s newly announced crackdown on intelligence information leaks is focused on leakers, not reporters, though part of the strategy could have legal ramifications for the latter.
“The attorney general’s been very clear that we’re after the leakers, not the journalists,” Rosenstein said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Rosenstein called journalists’ fears of legal pressure an “overreaction.”
I dunno. Given that the leakers are all in the White House (and Congress), are they really going to go after their own? Axios morning email thingie:
This offensive, despite the appealing politics at first blush, is fraught with risk for Trump. With these investigations in the hands of career FBI agents, they can lead to unexpected places: You could wind up prosecuting a West Wing official, not some deep-state Obama holdover.
On The Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff and Noah Shactman quoted Ron Hosko, former deputy director of the FBI, as saying “these changes could result in prosecution of members of Congress and Hill staffers.”
Hosko told The Beast that in the past, “the FBI identified members of Congress who leaked classified information, who the Justice Department then declined to prosecute. Agents were often frustrated by this … Given the attorney general’s announcement, … Congress and Hill staffers may be more likely to face prosecution.”
And then Mike ‘Payola’ Allen actually commits a brazen act of journalism: he researched what happened when Obama went after the leakers:
An Obama leak investigation regarding cyberattacks on Iran led to retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, a former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who had been called “Obama’s favorite general.” He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and prosecutors had asked for two years in prison. Obama pardoned him three days before leaving office.
A senior Obama official told Axios’ Jonathan Swan that they regretted their aggressive stance on leaks to Fox News’ James Rosen and other media cases: The costs at the senior level outweighed the benefits.
I don’t think it is much of a secret that Bullshit Barbie is a veritable water fountain when it comes to leaks, and if you don’t think that Bannon has a red phone to Breitbart I’d like to know why not. Comrade Stupid hisself was leaking classified stuff to the Russians and the strongman president of the Philippines; recently You’re Fired’ed Ezra Cohen-Watnick was the subject of an in-house joke because he leaked so much and so often (I’m trying to find a link to this, but it went something like you could set a timer on when a certain far right blogger would suddenly have a scoop after Cohen-Watnick got in a snit with anyone.)
Anyway, my point is the law of unintended consequences is going to come into play if they pursue leakers aggressively.